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U.S. media reports said Friday that President Donald Trump has instructed aides to proceed with tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese products.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg and Reuters said the president wanted to move forward with the additional duties even though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is trying to restart trade talks with Beijing.
The reports sent stocks falling Friday and led to a drop in the Chinese yuan.
The White House did not immediately comment on the reports.
Bloomberg reported that Trump met Thursday with his top trade advisers to discuss the tariffs, including Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The meeting was not on Trump’s public schedule.
Before Thursday’s meeting, Trump said on Twitter that he felt “no pressure” to make a deal with Beijing, saying “they are under pressure to make a deal with us.” He also raised questions about whether new talks between the United States and China would happen, saying the U.S. “will soon be taking in Billions in Tariffs & making products at home. If we meet, we meet?”
A public comment period for the proposed new tariffs ended last week. The U.S. trade representative’s office received nearly 6,000 comments on the proposal.
Even more tariffs
Last week, Trump threatened even more tariffs on Chinese items — duties on another $267 worth of goods, which when combined with the others would cover virtually all the products that China sends to the United States.
“That changes the equation,” he told reporters.
The Untied States has already imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, leading China to retaliate on an equal amount of U.S. goods.
The Trump administration has argued that tariffs on Chinese goods would force China to trade on more favorable terms with the United States.
It has demanded that China better protect American intellectual property, including ending cybertheft. The Trump administration has also called on China to allow U.S. companies greater access to Chinese markets and to cut its U.S. trade surplus.
China has threatened to retaliate against any potential new tariffs. However, China’s imports from the United States are worth $200 billion a year less than American imports from China, so it would run out of room to match U.S. sanctions.